Greg Goldman's music has been reviewed positively by friends/collaborators and professionals alike.
Review of the album Cathexis, by Pete Feenstra, GetReadyToRock.com
Appearances can be deceptive. The barely discernible art work on this CD disguises a masterpiece of an album by an artist whose multi-instrumental and production versatility matches that of his song craft.
Greg Goldman tells us that Cathexis is the 'investment of psychic energy in a given object'. He uses this energy to produce a lovingly crafted album full of sun drenched songs with subtle sonic sub texts and ever present harmony vocals which suggest Brian Wilson as an influence. More than that, he achieves the same impact as when these teenage ears first heard the Beach Boys.
'Cathexis' does indeed sound full of psychic energy and lots more besides. Greg pens elegant compositions and explores magisterial musical moments delivered with a lightness of touch as he sings from the heart, on an album that straddles gentle west coast influences and jazz fusion. He never restricts himself to anything too limited and thinks nothing of extending a vowel or transforming a lead line into something else. He creates an exciting, shifting musical tableau full of beguiling music, sweeping arrangements, intricate rhythms, mellifluous vocals and a stellar production that brings light and shade to 13 vibrant interlocking tracks.
There's a summery feel-good vibe about this album that sweeps you off your feet, with some airy melodies and lovely vocals that switch from lyrical enunciation to backing vocals in the blink of an eye.
Each track builds on the previous one, on album that leads you to try and second guess what he has in mind next.
'Center of The Universe' for example, is a jaunty acoustic piece with a 10cc style doubled up harmonies, layered keyboard and locked in guitar parts. 'Apropos' provides another subtle vocal wash and comes with a voluminous swell on the outro, and there's clever rhythmic phrasing on the acoustic driven 'Drop The Anchor' with a tautly extended finale.
On 'Recipe For Ruin' Greg adds some Steely Dan style funk with synth explorations and a mid-section keyboard motif that anchors the track. He adds modulated tones and a jazzy guitar line to the kind of sumptuous groove that you really don't want to end. The music on 'Cathexis' draws you in, as on the train time 'Paragon' with its uplifting background vocals, while the acoustic led 'Forty Nights' could be McCartney with the emphasis squarely on harmonies.
You could imagine Greg working with the likes of George Martin or Jeff Lynne except that he's already bottled his own retro magic.
'Bargain Song' employs a shifting bass line and a jazzy Paul Simon vocal, and Greg heads for the highway with some cogent rocking on 'All', as each verse adds another musical colour over a relentless tic-toc rhythm. You can almost feel the psychic energy immersing the music with real potency.
Greg Goldman is possibly the first artist I've ever come across who outlines his a-z influences on his web site, though curiously neither Brian Wilson or the Beach Bys feature. But you can feel the musical lineage at play from the little musical motifs and rich sonic elements, to the vocal phrasing and wide ranging musical styles.
'Cathexis' is a refreshingly cool album, even when Greg's adventurous spirit leads him to a proggy effort like 'Validation', which mixes staccato Jethro Tull rhythms with wisps of Genesis' and Phish style harmonies.
And if he evokes Macca again on the closing 'Turn It Home', it's simply because he recognises the need for a gentle acoustic end-piece to a great album that all discerning rock fans should buy.
Review of the album Cathexis, by Glenn Milligan, www.metalliville.co.uk
A decent enough contemporary artist who unleashed this onto the public back in 2011. Ok so it's not too long ago really.
Highlights from the Missouri recorded album include the opening 'Whole/Part'; the funky 'Faith Proposal' and the closing moody 'Turn It Home' that kinda reminds of the Floyd.
Worth a good listen to.
Review of the album Cathexis, by Nicky Baldrian, Fireworks Magazine (UK)
'Cathexis' is the breathtaking hugely enjoyable new thirteen track album from St. Louis based solo artist Greg Goldman. This album has all the fundamentals I like about classic acoustic retro/rock albums with a modern slant that strikes a chord with me for its rich diversity, fun energy and passion.
A lot of care and attention has gone into the creation of 'Cathexis,' especially with the production and it baffles me as to why artists like Greg Goldman are not huge. This record has all the hallmarks that fans of this genre love.
It's the music that counts and all tracks are varied and easily addictive numbers. Raging from the irresistible 'Recipe For Ruin' which is a jazzy retro fusion style number, the guitar work is out of this world and the whole vibe is brilliant, soaked in a sun kissed texture. 'Turn it Home' is very easy going, almost Americana in style coming across like the band America jamming with George Harrison. I really enjoyed this song and its one of those beauties that grows the more you listen, and listen you must, you need to drift along with this gorgeous baby, superb.
'Done (Where I'll See)' [sic] is more upbeat and melodic. Once again Greg sprinkles his special ingredients all over this track. This has a fuzzy retro vibe with a little Nirvana influences coming through, but far from grunge, this is retro jazzy 70's rock baby built for summer festivals. 'All' is another catchy song drenched in keyboards and makes me think of The Spencer Davis Group and Joe Bonamassa. 'Center Of The Universe' is very catchy, again retro in style, think Lenny Kravitz jamming maybe Oasis, great song, cool chorus and the one Greg should aim at radio if he gets the chance, love the whole build up of this song, it could even be progressive with a slight Wings feel.
Musically it's all here, there is something for everyone to enjoy throughout 'Cathexis' and Greg's music makes you listen and smile, we couldn't ask for more really and this is one of those albums I can play forever and get lost in. Watch out for Greg Goldman, one to look out for in the future and a band who play with feeling and style, and that’s a rare thing.
Review of the album Cathexis, by James Gaden, Fireworks Magazine (UK)
American Greg Goldman is a multi-instrumentalist who has been playing since he was a school boy, experimenting with multi track recording using cassette decks. He joined a band called Somah as the bass player, and toured the USA, sharing the stage with acts such as George Clinton and the Jerry Garcia Band. He issued his first album 'Moose' in 1998, playing all the instruments himself. Further releases were put out sporadically over the next few years, which brings us up to date.
'Cathexis,' his sixth album, once again sees Goldman handling all the instruments and vocals himself, as well as all production and mixing - a solo album in the truest sense of the word. Using the approach of writing as you record, Greg has put together an eclectic collection of thirteen songs. The production work is excellent and the playing is strong. Vocals are Greg's weak point, but he knows his limitations and never overtaxes what he has, which means everything on the album is more than listenable.
Songs range from the groovy opening of 'Whole/Part' to the more jazzy swing of 'Centre of the Universe,' all the way to the spacey 'Apropos' and the curiously effective synth led 'Faith Proposal.' The most rocking moment on the album is at the beginning of 'All,' but, that quickly fades back down to the more mellow style that permeates throughout the album. There are some mis-steps, the jerking, effect laden 'Validation' did nothing for me, but I liked the funky 'Recipe for Ruin.'
After hearing the album a few times, I liked its laid back vibe, but it lacked anything of a particularly memorable nature. Goldman is clearly a talent and I have the utmost respect for those with enough ability to make a solo album alone. I do think a bit of tempo variety and a little more cohesiveness in the album's direction would improve his work dramatically however.
Review of the album Cathexis, by Brandi Parker (Tella, Sigmund Blue, Dipod)
I really appreciate all the fresh things you're doing with this album! I can really hear that you're pushing yourself and trying new techniques (like different mixing) along with the new songwriting process you talked about.
It really does color the overall impression of the work as a progression. It feels like a departure from "For My Part," while holding on to the distinctly 70s feel. It also feels more like your truly Greggish early work like "Moose" or "Holding Inside the Sun," where you had all control and played everything.
I think the song order is great— the songs subtly get faster and more emotional as we go.
I'm loving all the synths you're playing with. Also, do I hear mandolin?
I think the first track that really grabs me is Track 3- Apropos. I love the chord progression! I love the piano! The bass part! Also, in the chorus there is this really neat sound that sweeps through in the background like a steel guitar and organ had a baby. I can't stop listening to those parts.
The groove is STANKY on Track 5- Recipe for Ruin (this is a GREAT thing). I'm really hearing your acid jazz stuff and jam band roots. And in the big instrumental - the "boom-da boom-da boom-daaaaa….. wow wow. boom-da! wowdala-woodle wowda woo… boom-da! wowdala-woodle wowda woo" Yeah, at that part- makes me nostalgic for that spectacular album that the Doors did after Jim died. Called "An American Prayer." They're playing basically instrumental parts under Jim reading his poetry. It's very jazz. There's sort of a main theme through the whole thing- an instrumental theme. That bit there reminds me of it. It's soooo good. I love the way you mixed this song. The Rhodes sounds great.
On track 8, Faith Proposal- loving the way this starts. My ears were like, whaaaa? Did my ipod skip to another album? But then your vox come in, and I'm like uh oh DAMN! What's up?!?! I was like dang, greg was wearing his booty-shakin' pants for this one. I also like the vox harmonies you're doing in this one.
Track 9- Bargain Song- This one you'd given me a taste of a while back. Love the touch of the flute samples in there. And, the driving rhythm is great. What are the big sort of chorus (as in choir) sounds at the end? Really cool.
Track 12- Validation- this is just so proggy and wonderful. The synth is particularly great at the intro.
And we end on a ballad. Ahhh.
Man, I gotta say. I've listened to this all the way through maybe 4 or 5 times on a few different things (headphones, speakers…) and it's really starting to settle in with me. I really thought about giving you a review later after I'd had time to listen more, but i really wanted to get you a review before you did the big launch. It's gonna take some time to take the place of my Count Gregula favorite, "For My Part'" but it has time! I'd say the only overall critique I have is I wish your vox were louder on most of the songs. Not that your mixes and techniques don't work for the songs— because, they do fit your aesthetic for the album— I'd just like them louder for selfish reasons!
Review of the album For My Part, by Brandi Parker (Tella, Sigmund Blue, Dipod)
I have so much to say about this album. It's solid. Rock solid. It's growth, it's hope and it's happiness. I can't believe the tremendous jump this record makes compared to your other records. It sounds as if you've moved forward lightyears in arrangement and effects and production and mixing and and and and...
More specifically it sounds like an old, wise soul created this. In a way I feel like you're channeling everyone in rock history's experiences and their trials and errors and techniques and have put forth this exquisitely crafted piece of art. I guess I could say it's all of classic rock's best attributes put together in one place. And i mean that in the best best possible way. I can hear elements of George Martin, Paul McCartney, REO Speedwagon, Led Zepplin, Steely Dan, Stone Temple Pilots, Tool, and John Mayall with his Blues Breakers. There's even some punk in there. I'm intrigued and I'm excited.
In the past, there have been moments where I felt some of your songs could be predictable, but i feel you have totally broken out of that completely here. Every single track. I've written songs alongside you and heard all your albums up til now, maybe it's just I can predict things. like you can probably predict what I'm going to do with my shit. We just get to know each other. But these tracks are totally keeping me on my toes here.
The vocals sound supreme on Friday at 10, by the way. Really love what you've done there.
Oh and the keys on Amazed. Great flavor.
One of my fave tracks is The Middle Ground. I'm a sucker for that progression. Also this sounds very 70's like early 70's Claptonesque. Maybe a little Jethro Tull. Love the envelope filtered guitars.
Which by the way, you have so many creamy guitar tones on this piece. I can't believe the silkiness you're getting. and edge in all the right places. All over this album.
The drums sound fantastic on every track
Vocal harmonies surround me like a warm hug everywhere.
Your guitar arrangements have just super-developed since the last album. The effects are sweet, the playing is super sweet and the parts are really nice and weave together comfortably.
Uptempo - Heathaze is really really nice. Just rocking as hell. My butt is vibrating to the beat.
So, in conclusion, I'm bowing down to you right now. Great fucking accomplishment, Greg.
Review of the album Hindsight, by novelist Cassandra Yorke
I really have to say, this is crazy good. Like, I can't believe how crisp and professional and smooth and *good* it sounds, how good the music is, in the "I can't believe I know the guy who made this" kind of way, you know? Not "this is better than I expected" - more like, "I can't believe I actually know a real rock artist". This is *really* good. I don't know why I'm getting this vibe, but half the songs I've heard so far (tracks 1 and 3, since I'm on 4 right now), give me a really Stephen King vibe. Let me see if I can explain it - there's a kind of synesthesia in my head. There's a certain mood Stephen King tends to conjure most of the time, this vibe...sort of like the..."psychic air" around someone? Am I making any sense? Sort of this soupy cloud of expressions and body language and emotions and imagery they carry around and that blends together and is just...your image of them. And the image behind some of your music feels like a lot of Stephen King's characters and expressions. And with "Toss It Back" and "Small Miracles", I can see how that might have been intentional. You were aiming for a vibe native to a specific few years in the late 70s/early 80s with your sound - sort of prog rock (a la ELO or Yes) marinated in concentrated Motown Funk, seasoned liberally with early 70s pop (America), and - in track 1 - garnished with just a shake of something corny, just for fun - and there's where the Stephen King vibe is for me.
Now in "Small Miracles," it's different. It starts out classic Motown funk and almost reminds me of a Japanese RPG like the Persona games (this is a REALLY good thing, btw, in case you aren't familiar - they're some of the best RPGs around, and their soundtracks are widely acclaimed). Listening to this, I'm transported back to someone's living room, circa 1982, sitting in a square chair covered in brown fabric, listening to this through someone's stereo system with record player and amplifier. The person who owns it has sideburns and pointy lapels. Now, I don't know if this was just an inspiration or mood or theme for you, or it was something where you were striving for authenticity. But, from my perspective as an author, like...this level of vibe, this level of authenticity, was something I strove for constantly. I thought about it all the time and researched constantly and tweaked everything just so in order to achieve it. And I still don't know if I came as close to the mark as you did with your music. ANYWAY, with "Small Miracles", I hear a bit of Carly Simon, a bit of laid-back 70s light rock - but with just a bit of devil-may-care attitude. But most of all, a lot of emotional emphasis in a more heartfelt way - which you deliver in the chorus.
Now, "Either/Or" is where I get the real America vibes, a bit of early Zeppelin, and a *lot* of...maybe Crosby, Stills, and Nash? I'm not very good with music from that time, but I think you get where I'm coming from. Then the chorus hits, and your vocals conjure this *huge* Phil Collins vibe, then become totally you again. Just...Greg Goldman. And like a glimpse of an old house in the forest, I can almost glimpse your 90s alternative roots - almost. And then it's gone again and I'm left to wonder if I heard it at all or if I just imagined it.
"Anthracite" - and I have to imagine you didn't intend this, but it's still a good thing (I'm a gamer, remember? xD) - gives me a bit of console game feel in terms of melody. Then your vocals come back to the 90s again. It's such an interesting combination of elements and it's fun to try to get a feel for the muse that would orchestrate this all into a single song.
"Don't Remind Me" is my favorite song so far - and I can tell by your placing this as track 2 that you meant for this to be your heavy hitter. And it really works. Where in most of the tracks on this album, you let the funk and organs lead the way, in "Don't Remind Me", it's the reverse. The funk is in the background and it drives a melody with a more rock feel. And the organs step back about ten years, back to the late 60s, which is a nice shift. The drums and the tempo in your chorus - and *ESPECIALLY* your solo - are much more 90s rock, which of course I'm really all about. I'm glad you didn't get too far from your roots on that track (was I wrong in assuming your earlier music was a lot more in that direction?). It's just a really awesome song.
I can hear it in the background in "Scissorboy" - sort of like the bones of the song. Maybe not even background - maybe more foreground. The organ sounds more like accompaniment here. This feels a lot more like something I'd be listening to on CD in my bedroom in ninth grade. This is another track I'm really fond of for that reason. And that solo! Really short but really Brother Cane, almost. Awesome.
"For All Time" takes me ahead into tenth grade - that acoustic comes in and brings Tonic on the breeze. It's your vocals that are more of a throwback here - lower resonance that hearkens back to the early 80s. Oh, and those riffs - this is so 90s! I love it! And I'm personally on more familiar ground here. The 70s motif is wearing away here and you're revealing more of yourself. And I think - again, for that reason - the longer this album goes on, the more I enjoy it. The earlier tracks were fun (and evocative!) but the later part of the album feels a little more heartfelt, a little darker, a little more introspective and honest. Like, okay, the company has left, and now we're sitting around with a couple of trusted friends. We've had a few glasses of wine, a few beers, and we're really talking about what's on our minds now.
And "Away" comes on, and I'm smelling beer and hearing Eric Clapton. And I realize that sounds dismissive and degrading and insulting, but I honestly don't mean for it to. For me, I see it as an example of your versatility and range - you can be jamming out deep in your roots, then flip a switch and turn on those three-part harmonies and sound as lovely and goosebump-y as the best tracks America ever wrote. And your solo - I can almost hear my dad showing me this and smiling and saying "now *that* takes talent."
I think by the time "Truth In Hindsight" comes on, I realize that your album has a few things that stick out for me - namely, your vocals. Your vocal style and expression, the range at which you sing, is really your strong suit. Your guitars are great, and the introduction of other instruments can help conjure moods and times, but your vocals are what carry your songs. I really don't think anyone could really cover your stuff, because with someone else's vocals, the songs would be entirely different. They would just be...songs. Your vocal work is really the thing I like the most about your music. Now that's not to say your drum work isn't awesome, too - it's deft and lively and spot-on. But your vocals are where it's really at.
"Let Live" has probably my favorite chorus of yours so far. It's situated in a sea of early 80s organs, but it's more powerful than the music around it. The rest of the song is pleasant, but this song's chorus is what makes it memorable.
"Mailbox" is a nice track to end the album with. It's pleasant, and it's got those vocals that are reminiscent of John Lennon at the same time as surpassing him. And no, I'm not just telling you that - I'm not really fond of John Lennon as a person, and I personally like the sound of your vocal work a lot better. I'd far rather listen to a Greg Goldman album than a Beatles album - hands down. The music is more relatable, for one thing - it's not filled with abstract, alien concepts, half-fueled by experimental drugs that aren't available to everyone else. Someone's actually saying something with these lyrics and this music.
I think overall, your music - not just your production, which is amazing, but your music - is neat, it's clean, and at the same time it's totally unconventional and full of twists and surprises. This album goes a lot of different places, more than my narrow, untrained focus can comprehend, and I feel like I'd need to spend a week with it to start getting a better picture of the place you came from in writing your music. But overall, listening to it has given me a really good sense of you as a musician and as an artist, even as a person a little bit. I can also tell that this album is a far more mature album in your career in the sense that you're not cutting yourself open and bleeding onto the microphones anymore like a lot of debut albums (or novels...) - you have a far more stable sense of yourself, a more stable sense of identity, of place, of priorities, and things you live for and love. Your music is still expressive, but it's well-adjusted in a way that only someone's later work can be - and possibly in a way only a parent can write. I've heard that being married and having children adds stability and adjustment to someone's art that they might lack earlier in their careers. (Like comparing Trent Reznor on Wish in 1992 with Trent Reznor in like 2014 or something.)
And as a critical response, I'm definitely not equipped at all to rate this album, so I'd just rate it a full five stars. And why not? It accomplishes everything it promises and sets out to achieve - nostalgia, a trip back in time, and those things to flavor a snapshot of the artist at this time in his life - and does it with all the style and flourish you sought to achieve as well. A lot of style, by the way, and a charming humility. You can tell the artist isn't trying to be more than he is - he only wants to share something. And he succeeds beautifully.